Forget breaking the sound barrier: Tom Cruise just passed a major career milestone.
The 59-year-old superstar got his first $100 million opening weekend with “Top Gun: Maverick.” Paramount Pictures said Sunday that in its first three days in North American theaters, the long-running sequel raked in an estimated $124 million in ticket sales. Including international performances, it has a worldwide total of $248 million.
It’s a supersonic debut for a film that still has Memorial Day open skies to earn even more cash. By the end of Monday, “Top Gun: Maverick” is likely to have more than $150 million, according to estimates and estimates.
“These results are ridiculous, super-brilliant,” said Chris Aronson, Paramount’s president of domestic distribution. “I’m happy for everyone. I’m happy for the company, for Tom, for the filmmakers.”
Though unquestionably one of the biggest stars in the world — perhaps even “the last movie star,” according to various headlines — Cruise isn’t known for massive blockbuster openings.
Prior to “Maverick”, his biggest domestic debut was in 2005 with Steven Spielberg’s “War of the Worlds”, which opened to $64 million. After that it was “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” with $61 million in 2018. It’s not that his movies don’t make money in the long run: they just don’t frontload much.
‘Top Gun: Maverick’ had a long way to go before reaching theatres. The sequel to the late Tony Scott’s “Top Gun,” which was released in 1986, was originally expected to open in the summer of 2020. Its marketing campaign technically started back in July 2019. The pandemic got in the way of those plans, however, and it was delayed several times. Directed by Joseph Kosinski, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and co-produced and co-financed by Skydance, the sequel reportedly cost $152 million to make.
But as the months, and years, passed and several other companies chose to settle on a hybrid release, Cruise and Paramount did not give up on their desire for a major theatrical release. A streaming debut simply wasn’t an option.
“That was never going to happen,” Cruz said in Cannes.
And it’s major, with 4,735 North American theaters showing (a record) “Top Gun: Maverick.” It also opened at 23,600 locations in 62 international markets.
“This is one of the longest runways ever for a marketing campaign for any film. And it only served to create more excitement around the film,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at comScore. “This movie was literally waiting for the movie theaters to come back.”
Production has been equally lucrative, with fighter-jet-adorned premieres on an aircraft carrier in San Diego and at the Cannes Film Festival, where Cruise was also given an honorary Palme d’Or, and attended a royal premiere in London. Taken was Prince William and his wife Kate.
“The feeling you get when you watch this film with the audience is very special,” Aaronson said. “The first big screening we had was spontaneous applause throughout the film.”
Reviews have also been stellar, with the film scoring 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. According to exit polls, the audience, which was 58% male, gave it an A+ CinemaScore.
In the new film, Cruise reprises the role of Maverick, who returns to an elite aviation training program to train the next generation of passengers, including Miles Teller, Glen Powell, Monica Barbaro, Greg Tarzan Davis, Danny Ramirez, Lewis Pullman and Including Jay Ellis. Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm and Val Kilmer, reprising their roles from the original, also star.
“It reinforces the notion that the movie theater is a singular and an important outlet for people,” Dergarabedian said. “People are looking for a great escape from what is happening in the world right now.”
“Maverick” is now one of the top Pandemic era openings, still led by “Spider-Man: No Way Home” with $260 million, followed by “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” at $187 million. and “The Batman” with $134 million. ,
Notably, “Top Gun: Maverick” is the only non-superhero movie in the bunch. It also attracted a wider group of age groups to the theatre. An estimated 55% of viewers were over 35.
“Superhero movies are not for everyone. This film is for everyone and that’s what makes it different.” “The theatrical exhibition business has challenges, but it’s a shot in the arm for that.”
“The Bob’s Burger Movie” was the only new release that dared to go up against “Top Gun”. The animated picture, released by 20th Century Studios and Disney, earned $12.6 million from 3,425 locations. It opened in third place behind “Doctor Strange 2,” which earned $16.4 million in its fourth weekend in theaters.
“Top Gun” will essentially remain in the skies on its own until “Jurassic World: Dominion” opens on June 10.
“It’s a really cool, open market place to play in,” Dergarbadian said. “Tom Cruise has always been about consistency. His movies are about marathons. This is his first film to earn massively at the box office. Here, he gets the sprint and the marathon.”
Estimated ticket sales in theaters in the US and Canada from Friday to Sunday, according to comScore. Final domestic figures will be released on Tuesday.
1. “Top Gun: Maverick,” $124 million.
2. “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” $16.4 million.
3. “The Bob’s Burger Movie,” $12.6 million.
4. “Downton Abbey: A New Era,” $5.9 million.
5. “Bad Guys,” $4.6 million.
6. “Sonic the Hedgehog 2,” $2.5 million.
7. “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” $2.5 million.
8. “The Lost City,” $1.8 million.
9. “Men,” $1.2 million.
10. “F3: Fun and Frustration,” $1 million.